Bonjour! Happy very belated NYE to you, too, and I’m sorry this took so long, to be honest, your first question deals with a potentially very controversial topic.
I’m answering this publicly so other ppl can chime in if they feel comfortable doing so.
1|2 [How would you say Daniel’s relationship with Marius and Armand differ from one another but still hold similarities?]
^[X] I don’t know if this is a legit quote from Angelina Jolie (it’s more poignant now that they’re broken up, if so ;A;), BUT. I think the quote makes a good point.
A real relationship may not always be rainbows and sparkles. Someone seeing you at your worst and still loving you. It’s complicated. I know of relationships that seem to be all fluff on the surface, but underneath, resentment grows, when someone in it feels like they’re giving more than they feel is fair, but can’t communicate for fear of making it worse. When you confront your loved one with your issues, sometimes it gets ugly. That’s healthy, to be able to have those difficult conversations to improve things.
So when we compare fictional ships, like real life, there’s much that happens off-screen, whether in individual reader’s headcanons, or reported by unreliable narrators. We get info from canon and work with it.
Both ships you mention have potentially major controversial stuff about them and this is a blog for entertainment, so I don’t want to get deeply into that. But I would say, in my own reading, that I see both ships as having pairings who deeply care for each other, and express that love in different ways, and they’re not always able to do that smoothly.
Without meaning any disrespect to other fans, my own interpretation of these two ships is pretty superficial, as they involve characters I haven’t spent as much mental space exploring.
Daniel/Armand helped each other in many ways during the time that they were together. Daniel taught Armand about the modern world, gave him a will to live, and Armand was endlessly fascinating to Daniel, not only for being a vampire, but because of Armand himself. I do believe Daniel really and truly fell in love with Armand. Their sass was so complementary! And it was NOT all rainbows and sparkles for them, they had a feisty and rocky ship for 10 years!
The beginning of Daniel/Marius isn’t as explicit in canon… I remember just suddenly finding out sometime after QOTD that Daniel had gone to live with Marius and I was like, “Really?” and it seemed like Marius was in more of a caretaker role with him, as Daniel was somewhat mad, reeling from everything he’d experienced in QOTD, as can happen with fledglings for the first few months/years, and this developed into a legit canon ship between those two. Marius seems to have learned from the past that he can’t have a teacher/student ship and expect it to last, at least to my mind, he treats Daniel with the respect of an emotional equal. Maybe we’ll get more info on them in the next book.
2|2 [What if Louis’ brother had been turned and not Louis. How do you think Paul’s (( That’s his name right? )) story would have played out?]
[X] Yep his name is Paul. That’s really tough bc we barely get to know Paul, except that he’s 15, and deeply religious, ppl think he’s gone mad, so much so that he believes he really had visions of St. Dominic and the Virgin Mary. I think the killing-to-live aspect would have been totally rejected by such a religious person. He probably wouldn’t want to see his own family in his damned state, ever again ;A; Paul would probably rather go into the sun than feed on animals and enjoy any of the vampiric gifts.
The other way Paul might have gone is in deciding that Lestat was an actual angel, and choosing to redirect all his religious fervor towards Lestat… and we don’t need anyone doing that! Lestat says he wants to be worshiped, but I think these are the words of someone who was starved for affection in his formative years. He doesn’t want the unconditional love of a religious zealot, not really. He wants love that has to be earned, over and over again, and the reward of that love is that it’s genuine and not because he’s just that pretty.
So I think Lestat would tire of such a sycophant and move on, Paul would go into the sun.